“And so I must suffer. When I open my eyes. When I close my eyes. It is all the same. First thing I see is Meliore’s body pinned to the back of my father’s chair in his study. She is dead. My mind is ever there and nowhere else.“
– Avenel Fabbro (Shimmer – Chapter 17)
Avenel Fabbro is the eldest son of Tancred and Meliore Fabbro. He is intelligent, talented, a perfect specimen to inherit the throne one day from his father but in 1162 he losses his wife, Valeria, and two daughters, Natalia and Alma, to disease. He is never the same after that. Incapable of smiling, unable to fake it, losing interest in living, Avenel stops helping his father manage Parthenope and Campania.
Avenel resigns his Castellan title to his brother Gherardus and becomes a recluse. He dismisses most of his servants and lives a lonely life at his estate, burning many of his prized possessions and memories. The only person he sees or visits on a regular basis is his mother, Meliore. She is the only thing he has left.
In Parthenope, there was a great disturbance when Gherardus’ wife, Bertina, is miraculously healed from a paralysis she suffered in child birth. She is mad and six children are executed to appease her madness.
Avenel’s father begins having great difficulty ruling the city after that. He is drawn into supernatural intrigues, consumed with lifting a curse he believes has fallen over the city.
Uncommonly, unexpectedly, Gherardus shows up at Avenel’s door one evening and the two men discuss the future direction of the kingdom. Avenel has no interest in the kingdom but he is concerned that Tancred’s behavior will reflect poorly on his mother. Gherardus convinces him that Tancred will never step aside and should be murdered. The people need to see the eldest son return to rule. Avenel agrees. Nothing is more important than protecting their mother from their father.
Drawing their alcoholic youngest brother, Turstin, into their machinations (because he is Provost controls the purse), the Fabbro sons plot.
They arrange to have their mother leave the city on holiday so she won’t be in Parthenope when her husband dies.
What they did not plan for was Meliore returning to Parthenope early.
Wanting to surprise her husband, Meliore sneaks back into Parthenope with the help of mad Lady Bee, and waits for Tancred in his study.
Avenel, Gherardus and Turstin, positioned in a dark tower high above the study that night, spot movement in the study. Gherardus fires the deadly bolt that travels down into the study and kills not their father, but their mother. Tancred, upon discovering Meliore’s body, dies of a heart attack at her feet.
Avenel is devastated the next morning when they discovered what they had done. He can’t process the multitude of lies and deceptions that will be necessary to cover up their mistake, their error in judgment. He has lost the last person that meant anything to him, the person he came to Parthenope to protect.
“Avenel,” Gherardus demanded, “are you going to carry out my command?“
Avenel did not respond. He wasn’t really listening to him anymore. His mind was already settled. With ease, he swept Meliore’s lithe body up in his muscular arms. He pressed his lips against her cold forehead before turning to face Gherardus. “I’m out brother. This is the last time I will ever see you. I’m leaving the city. With me gone, you are next in line. Parthenope is yours to rule.“
Gherardus and Turstin are forced to make arrangements themselves, adding Avenel to the rolls of the dead. A large state funeral is held, honoring Tancred, Meliore and Avenel.
Avenel disappears from the story until a griffin bearing a rider lands in an icy cave where Pero de Alava is trapped.
“Who are you?” Pero demanded to know, his voice sharp and threatening; impatient.
The old man smiled. “I’m a friend to those who are lost.”
(Cold Knight – Chapter 20)
In the next chapter, Avenel makes himself known.
“Gherardus and Turstin were my siblings. Are my siblings.” He nodded and bowed slightly. “I am called Avenel. Avenel Fabbro. I last laid eyes on my brothers some…” he waited and considered the number. “Twenty-eight years ago.“
(Cold Knight – Chapter 21)
Pero, in his madness, his visions and dreams, continue to see and lose sight of Avenel. The old man continually appears and disappears until the gold Shimmer brings them together in the Apennine Mountains where Pero had fallen to his death. Avenel is riding a qilin, an enormous winged white horse.
Avenel and a small man, a mazzamurello called Fo-Gee, take Pero on winged horses, to Eliade where a great battle commences followed by a grand banquet.
“I left Parthenope and carried her into the wilderness with my grief. Madness revealed Eliade. Here I buried her. Here I erected this monument…. I am an outsider here. An outcast. A man running from himself. Unhappy. Unloved. Unable to locate peace. There are no victories worth such loneliness. And now I fade…“
(Shimmer – Chapter 17)
Allen M Werner is the author of the Epic Fantasy series The Crystal Crux